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THE DOUBTER
his financial exploits, and proclaimed himself a loyal supporter
of that callous old truth-doctor Bismarck. The famous episode
of the Ems telegram -which, according to some, -was the electric
spark that touched off the Franco-Prussian war in 1370, had
Kronecker's warm approval, and his grasp of the situation was
so firm that before the battle of Weissenburg, when even the
military geniuses of Germany were doubtful as to the outcome
of their bold challenging of France, Kronecker confidently pre-
dicted the success of the entire campaign and was proved right
in detail* At the time, and indeed all his life, he was on cordial
terms with the leading French mathematicians, and he was
clear-headed enough not to let his political opinions cloud his
just perception of his scientific rivals' merits. It is perhaps as
well that so realistic a man as Kronecker cast his lot with
mathematics.
Leopold Kronecker's life was easy from the day of his birth.
The son of prosperous Jewish parents, he was born on 7
December 1823, at Liegnitz, Prussia. By an unaccountable
oversight Kronecker's official biographers (Heinrich Weber and
Adolf Kneser) omit all mention of Leopold's mother, although
he probably had one, and concentrate on the father, who
owned a flourishing mercantile business. The father was a well-
educated man with an unquenchable thirst for philosophy
which he passed on to Leopold. There was another son, Hugo,
seventeen years younger than Leopold, who became a distin-
guished physiologist and professor at Berne. Leopold's early
education under a private tutor was supervised by the father;
Hugo's upbringing later became the loving duty of Leopold.
In the second stage of his education at the preparatory school
for the Gymnasium Leopold was strongly influenced by the
co-rector Werner, a man. with philosophical and theological
leanings, who later taught Kronecker when he entered the
Gymnasium, Among other things Kronecker imbibed from
Werner was a liberal draught of Christian theology, for -which
he acquired a lifelong enthusiasm. With what looks like his
usual caution, Kronecker did not embrace the Christian faith
till practically on his deathbed when, having seen that it did his
six children no noticeable mischief, he permitted himself to be
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